“Discovering the Bible as a mighty source, containing the immensity of God’s Power and encountering the Lord Himself, ‘Who is the Word – that became flesh and dwells among us?’”
(Based on Exo 20:1-17 and Mt 13:18-23 – Friday of the 16th Week in Ordinary Time)
One of the most famous persons who had been greatly impressed and influenced by the Holy Bible was Mahatma Gandhi.
He once made a statement, which would make all of us…
… to examine deeply our level of love for the scriptures
… to make relevant changes in order to match our lives with the teachings of the Bible
This statement goes thus:
“You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilisation to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet.
But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature!”
Now, that indeed is a mightily powerful statement isn’t it?
That’s an intense statement of, on one side, our Sacred Scripture being acknowledged…
… as having tremendous power to transform
… as having remarkable force to bring about changes
And yet, on the other side, We, the caretakers and promoters of the Bible – the Christians – being people…
… who often are seen to be giving less respect and reverence
… who fail to find the worth of the treasure that is in possession!
Well, it is left to each one of us.. to examine, in the light of this statement, whether…
… the Holy Bible has become a constant and regular companion of my life
… the Sacred Scriptures have become a catalyst for effecting personal transformation
The Gospel of the Day is the beautiful explanation, by Jesus, of the Parable of the Sower…
… and through it, a reminder for us to revive our delight in and our dedication to, in living the Word of God.
The famous author Mark Twain once said:
“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture which they cannot understand;
But as for me, I have always noticed that the passages in Scripture which trouble me most, are those which I do understand.”
The passage in consideration – the explanation of the Parable of the Sower (Mt 13: 18-23) – is surely one which has come very often under our scanner of reflection and meditation.
We almost know each of its elements in detail:
• The Sower sowing the seed
• Some falling on the wayside and birds devouring them
• Some falling on the rock and after a quick sprouting, withering away
• Some falling among the thorns and failing to grow, suffocated by its choke
• Some falling on the good seed and yielding – a thirty, a sixty and a hundred fold
We also have understood its applications in our life
Yet, very often, its implications fail to take root in us and we remain indifferent or casual regarding the Seed – the Precious Word of God!
Today, therefore, the Lord once again seeks to awaken our minds and shake our lethargic minds, in seeking to revive our love and enthusiasm for His Word.
Here are some of the practical pointers for self-introspection, towards this objective…
- What is my reading habit with respect to the Bible – God’s Word…?
- Have I read the Bible fully, at least once?
… If YES… why not make efforts to read “the beautiful expressions in God’s love-letters”, once again
… If NO… why not make a bold step to try to read the Bible fully, at least once.
• One could perhaps, start with some of the easier books/sections of the Bible.. maybe, the New Testament, or the Psalms etc…
Sometimes we might feel too bored or disinterested to pick up the pages of the Old Testament – some passages might seem even disturbing or distressing.
Yet, when we understand that those were some of the societal manners that existed back then…
… and Scriptures were written by human authors, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in concrete life-situations, we would be able to appreciate them much better
- Can I set apart, daily, at least a few minutes to read the Bible?
- Can I make genuine efforts to memorize at least a few verses from the Bible?
• These verses can be invoked in our moments of prayer, in our moments of needing spiritual strength, in our moments of deepening the faith etc.
- What is my effort and dedication in putting into practical effect the Bible – God’s Word…?
- Am I a person who only simply reads the Bible – without making efforts to understand it, or one who fails to try to put into practice what I learn from God’s Word?
- Is my love for the Word of God only finding expression in forwarding ‘Daily Bible Verses’ through social media sites/apps, emails or SMS’S or do I also try to apply and live those verses in my day-to-day activities?
These days, we have access to – especially through the internet and many magazines and books – an innumerable amount of Bible Study material, explanations on the Bible, sermons and reflections etc.
• Do these become a springboard for me to personally learn more and deepen my spiritual bond with the Lord of the Word; or do I only take these, without making any personal reflection and use it for giving sermons, talks etc.
- Has the Word become a personal and intimate life-giver for me and do I have a deep thirst to know and grow more in the Word?
Through Prophet Jeremiah, the Lord reminds us to become ‘shepherds after His Own Heart’:
“And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jer 3:15)
… the Bible is the great source to grow in Knowledge and Understanding of the Lord!
As Christians, we are privileged and prized – to possess the Precious Book of God’s Salvific acts – in the Holy Bible.
As it is said, “The BIBLE contains B(asic) I(nstructions) B(efore) L(eaving) E(arth)”
… is a treasury of immense love
… is a source of unmatched transformative power
… is a supplier of unparalleled strength and grace towards salvation
Let us realise that we have a “Document containing enough dynamite…
… to bring peace to a battle-torn planet!”
Do I treat The Bible just an ordinary piece of literature, a lifeless object to be just decorated (or in some cases, dusted and dirtied) and a book of sacredness but still untouched and unexplored…
… or can I discover It to be the mighty source, containing the immensity of God’s Power and encountering the Lord Himself, “Who is the Word – that became flesh and dwells among us”?
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
The historical complexity of Jesus’ trial is apparent in the Gospel accounts.
The personal sin of the participants (Judas, the Sanhedrin, Pilate) is known to God alone. Hence we cannot lay responsibility for the trial on the Jews in Jerusalem as a whole, despite the outcry of a manipulated crowd and the global reproaches contained in the apostles’ calls to conversion after Pentecost.
Jesus Himself, in forgiving them on the cross, and Peter in following suit, both accept “the ignorance” of the Jews of Jerusalem and even of their leaders.
Still less can we extend responsibility to other Jews of different times and places, based merely on the crowd’s cry: “His blood be on us and on our children!”, a formula for ratifying a judicial sentence.
As the Church declared at the Second Vatican Council: Neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his Passion – the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture.
All sinners were the authors of Christ’s Passion
In her Magisterial teaching of the faith and in the witness of her saints, the Church has never forgotten that “sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured.”
Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ Himself, the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus, a responsibility with which they have all too often burdened the Jews alone
We must regard as guilty all those who continue to relapse into their sins. Since our sins made the Lord Christ suffer the torment of the cross, those who plunge themselves into disorders and crimes crucify the Son of God anew in their hearts (for he is in them) and hold him up to contempt.
It is you who have crucified him and crucify him still, when you delight in your vices and sins. (Cf. CCC # 597-598)